How-to Microsoft Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Identify Website Issues with Internet Explorer Compatibility Test Tool (IECTT)

Internet Explorer Compatibility Test Tool (IECTT) is a part of the Application Compatibility Toolkit. Its a freeware tool from Microsoft to solve and address AppCompat Issues.

You can also emulate your website to solve the Website Compatibility Issues – Read here

This Tool collects your Web-based issues from Internet Explorer 7 / Internet Explorer 8, uploads the data to the ACT Log Processing Service, and gives the details about discovered compatibility issues. It also provides you links for more information about each of this compatibility issues.

To know more on how to Install and setup the Application Compatibility Toolkit Environment, i would recommend you read this article!

Step 1: Invoke the tool from the Start Menu -> All Programs -> Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.5 -> Developer and Test Tools -> Internet Explorer Compatibility Test Tool

Internet Explorer Compatibility Test (IECT) Tool

Once the application is launched, you will see the below dialog;

Internet Explorer Compatibility Test Tool

Step 2: Close all of your active Internet Explorer browser windows; and then click on the Enable button in the Toolbar.

Enable - Internet Explorer Compatibility Test Tool

This will start monitoring your Internet Explorer session. In the Internet Explorer Compatibility Tool, you can view the potential compatibility issues, filter your results, save an issue report, and open an existing issue report, and upload all data to your ACT database.

Step 3: Now Open the website on the Internet Explorer (This would be the website, which you would need to check the Compatibility for)

Report Gathering - Internet Explorer Compatibility Test Tool

Step 4: Press the Disable Button. This will stop the monitoring of the Website.

Disable - Internet Explorer Compatibility Test Tool

You will now see the complete information which was collected. You can also opt to save this report (.cet) file, so that you can review your issues at a later time, or for archival purposes.

Data Collected - IECTT

You can also filter the reports based on the issue occurances.

Filter Report

Step 5: You have an option to Upload these data to your ACT Database and rationalize and review it using the ACM (Application Compatibility Manager). Click on the Upload Button. This will create an XML file and bucket the data.

Upload the Reports

Saving the Issues Cab File

Step 6: Save the Cab file in the parent level of your ACT log file directory; This will be automatically processed by the ACT Log Processing Service the next time it runs. If you have not created the LogShare – Check this out

Save the cab file in the Root Folder of the Log Share

Step 7: Start the Application Compatibility Manager (ACM) –(right click and run as administrator). Now you will see the Internet Explorer reports also. If you do not see the collected data., open services.msc, stop the ACT Log Processing Service and Restart it.

IE Reports in ACM

Now you can Send-Recieve the data on ACM, so that you can get the suggestions from the community / Microsoft on this issues. If you are an IT Pro, you can also forward this report to the website developer, to fix these issues.

Send Recieve IE Reports

To understand on how to analyze these reports on the Application Compatibility Manager – Read this article

Also Read:

How-to Microsoft Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Collect Computer details: ACT Data Collection Package (DCP)

Earlier, we have discussed on how to Setup, Install and Configure the Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.5 on a machine to start the AppCompat process. If you have not read it, I would recommend if you can have a glance through this article first.

In this article, we will look at how to Create and Deploy a Data Collection Package (DCP) to gather inventory for software, hardware, and device assets.

Step 1: Launch the Application Compatibility Manager, from the Start Menu (Right click and Run as Administrator)

Invoke Application Compatibility Manager

If you see the below dialog, you have configured the ACM correctly, If you see a wizard, then you need to follow these steps before you can continue.

Application Compatibility Manager

Step 2: By default, this window lands up in Collect Option. Goto File Menu, Create New Data Collection Package. Once you do this, you will get the below dialog.

Creating a Data Collection Package - Application Compatibility Manager

Step 3: Name your DCP. For the ease of remembering, I have named this DCP as “DataCollector_May2010”.  Now you have lots of options here to choose from. The DCP also has an ability to identify Windows Updates. You can choose that, if you want to assess the updates. One of the important point about the DCP is Scheduling.

Scheduling a Data Collection Package

The Application Compatibility Manager provides you with various options, to schedule the execution of the DCP. You can choose whether, this Data Collection should start immediately as soon as the package is installed.. or even Schedule it. For eg: If you are trying to collect the data from a site in different region, it makes sense to start the data collection at their working hours. So you can schedule it that way!

Step 4: This is another important step, where you will mention the duration the Data Collection should happen. This is the period where the ACT Data Collection Service will be running in the machine. As you see in the below image, you can choose Days, hours or even minutes.

Scheduling a Data Collection Package - Duration

In the next section, you will observe that the Log share which we created earlier will appear. This is the location, where the app log files will be written.

Step 5: Now save the Data Collection Package. This will create an msi file, which you can use it to trigger the Data Collection Service. In an individual machine, you can just double click and trigger the msi. In an enterprise environment, you can even deploy this msi using any of your deployment Tools.

Data Collection Package is Created

On invoking this package (DataCollector_May2010.msi), you will see that the ACT Data Collector Service is started.

ACT Data Collector Service - Started

This service will run for the duration, you had set earlier. (Step 4). This service will monitor all the changes and applications in your computer during this period. After this duration, you will see that this service will now be stopped and removed (see below image). (For demo purpose – i had kept it as 3 minutes)

ACT Data Collector Service - Stopped and Removes

Step 5: Once this service Stops, you can launch the Application Compatibility Manager again, and goto the Analyze Tab. Here you will see the report which were collected.

Application Compatibility Manager - Analyze Phase

Now when you click on the Applications (left side) under the Windows 7, you will get to see a list of all the applications which were gathered.

Data Collected - Analyze Phase

If you are on a good bandwidth or you prefer to see this as a Video, Check the same below.

This completes the Data Collection Process. In the next article, we will look at how to Analyze this report and work on it to mitigate applications.

How-to Microsoft Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Install and Setup the Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) 5.5

We all have this question in our mind. “Why does my application break when we change the Operating Systems?”

Typically, whenever a new OS is released, Microsoft makes every effort to ensure application Compatibility. Unfortunately, as the OS evolves and when reliability, security and performance improvements are made, there are some comprises which are made that ends up breaking some applications. Thankfully, when the changes are decided to be made, there is some mitigation planned to address the applications which are broken. Out of which, One of the mitigation tool is “Application Compatibility Toolkit”. In this article, we will look at how to setup this toolkit and Start the AppCompat Process.

ACT Toolkit is Collection of tools which can be used to gather inventory for software, hardware, and device assets. Get Vendor Support and community Statements, Recommendations for fixing applications and also tools to apply compatibility fixes or “shims” to applications. This tool is a free ware. As it has a capability to collect inventory, it needs a place to store these information. Hence, you will need a SQL Server as a pre-requisite. Even a SQL Express will do.

You can download the SQL Server Express edition and Application Compatibility Toolkit from these websites to begin with!

Step 1: Install the SQL Server on your machine. I already have SQL Express installed on my machine; I can see the SQL service running on my machine. (see image below)

SQL Server Express - Installation

Step 2: Start the installation of the Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.5 (Application Compatibility Toolkit.msi)

Application Compatibility Toolkit - Installation

Step 3: Continue the installation by pressing the Next Button and Install Button.

Application Compatibility Toolkit - Installation Location

Application Compatibility Toolkit - Installation Complete

Once the software is installed, you can see these tools as a part of the Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) 5.5. (We will look more in detail about these individual tools in the future videos.)

 Application Compatibility Toolkit - Programs and Softwares

To configure the Application Compatibility Manager, First launch the program as an Administrator. (Right click and Run as Administrator).

Step 4: When you launch this shortcut for the first time, you will get a wizard to configure the program. This is necessary so that, the inventory of your apps can be gathered.

Application Compatibility Toolkit Configuration Wizard

Leave it as the default Enterprise Configuration, Click Next,

Application Compatibility Toolkit Enterprise Configuration

Step 5: Now configure the Database; Click on the Combo Box, you will see the SQLServer Engine. (as shown below) . Click on the Connect Button. This would allow the ACT tool to connect to the SQL Database.

Application Compatibility Toolkit Configurating your ACT Database

Step 6: Name your Database and click on the Create Button. For the demo purpose, i have entered ACTDEMO. Click Next to continue,

Application Compatibility Toolkit - Naming your ACT Database

Step 7: This is another important Step, As this application would gather the inventory of the apps (from different machines also), you need to create a Writeable Share where the logs can be stored. Create a Folder and give Write permissions for everyone on this! Now mention that Shared path in this below dialog. (for eg: \\vj-pc\ACTLogs)

Application Compatibility Toolkit - Log File Location Configuration

Step 8: Complete the Configuration. By clicking on the Finish Button.

Application Compatibility Toolkit Configuration Wizard - Completion

If you observe in the above dialog, you have an option to join the ACT Customer Experience Program. By being a part of this, you can share and exchange your learnings and compatibility reports with the Microsoft.

This completes the Installation and configuration of the Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) 5.5. For more detailed Demonstration -If you are on a good bandwidth or you prefer to see this as a Video, Check the same below.

Microsoft Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Solve Application Compatibility Challenges in Windows 7 – Video from App-DNA

For most of the world’s large enterprises, the migration to Windows 7 is already underway. This is emphatically not the ‘wait and see’ attitude we experienced with Vista. And every expert agrees: the main step to getting your application estate over to Windows 7 is tackling application compatibility.

App-DNAWith that in mind, The App-DNA team has brought together three of the very best experts to discuss the migration and application compatibility issues you’re about to face as you move your organization to Windows 7 – along with App-V, 64-bit or server-based computing.

These are three heavy-hitters who have seen more migrations than most:

  • Chris Jackson, Microsoft’s famous ‘App-Compat Guy’
  • Andy Wray, head of the Microsoft Practice at HP
  • Paul Schnell, CTO of App-DNA, the app-compat pioneers

In this short, powerful video, moderated by leading tech journalist Cliff Saran, you’ll hear:

  1. Why enterprises are moving to Windows 7 so soon
  2. Why Service Pack 1 isn’t delaying the market
  3. Why this is the ideal opportunity to optimize your desktops
  4. The new record for number of apps in one enterprise (the old record was 91,000!)
  5. Why app compatibility is THE #1 challenge
  6. What the main stumbling blocks are for the apps that will struggle to migrate
  7. How you can emerge from this migration with much better app management processes
  8. Where virtualization, 64-bit and server-based computing fit in

You can watch this video here – The Journey to Windows 7

I would recommend you also read the Complete Application Compatibility Series

Microsoft Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Springboard Series Virtual Roundtable – Plan, Test and Assess Windows 7 Deployment

On April 29th, join Microsoft Technical Fellow, Mark Russinovich, as he will be leading a discussion around the process of planning, testing, assessing and rolling out Windows 7 in an enterprise organization. Mark will be joined by a panel of IT professionals who are currently in the piloting and deployment process, along with Microsoft subject matter experts who can speak in depth about the technologies. The event will be broadcast live over the web at 9:00 am PDT, and will be available for on-demand viewing following the broadcast.

Windows 7 LogoThe discussion will be open and candid, with the panel sharing insights, dispelling myths and getting down to the real story around technical adoption of Windows technologies. Specific topics will include the role of the pilot and the critical information it provides, best practices and tips & tricks for ensuring a successful effort, tools and technologies that will help automate the pilot and deployment processes, and conducting a frank post-pilot assessment. During the event, Mark will field questions coming in via the web from viewers across the globe.

Access the VRT live at:

Missed a previous Springboard Series Virtual Roundtable?

  •  You can read the Questions and Answers of the Part 2 to get more information on how Virtualization can help Application Compatibility
  • Gain insight, tips, and tricks from Microsoft Technical Fellow Mark Russinovich, industry experts, and IT professionals from around the world from the recordings

Looking at Windows 7 Deployment?

Complete Application Compatibility Series

Events Microsoft

TechNet Webcast: Migrating from Internet Explorer 6 to Internet Explorer 8

internet-explorer-8You are probably excited about the new Windows 7 operating system, and the Windows Internet Explorer 8 Web browser comes as part of the package. You may have seen the demos of new features and tools that are available, but you are still using Internet Explorer 6. The demos are always simplified, and you see pages with a single issue conveniently fixed using a click of a button. But it is definitely not that easy. You could have thousands of apps, many of them packaged, or you could be prevented from accessing the code because it is part of a product you bought.

Attend this demonstration-heavy webcast, have your questions answered by the experts and learn what IT professionals do in real-world scenarios to configure, manage, deploy, and ensure the compatibility of their Web applications with Internet Explorer 8. 

Tuesday, March 09, 2010 6:00 AM Pacific Time (US & Canada)

You can register for this webcast here. You will need a Windows Live / Hotmail id to process your registration.

I would also recommend you read these article on How to Fix Browser Compatiblity Issues and OS Version Issues.

Presenters of this session: Chris Jackson*, Principal Consultant and the Technical Lead of the Windows Application Experience SWAT Team, Microsoft Corporation and Maggie Chen, Product Manager, Microsoft Corporation

*Chris Jackson is a widely recognized expert in the field of Windows Application Compatibility, creating the technical documentation, training, and service offerings used inside and outside of Microsoft based on years of real-world experience with enterprise customers and independent software vendors.


Windows 7 Application Migration Checklist from App-DNA

There’s no need to lose sleep over Windows 7 application migration. There are plenty of things you can do to make life easier for yourself and your users. The App-DNA team has compiled a quick checklist packed with tips and resources to help make your migration faster, easier and less disruptive.

App-DNAIt covers all the key points, for instance: project scoping, resource allocation, pre-migration assessment and lots more. It tells you why testing against a generic Windows 7 version is a waste of time, and how getting your house in order beforehand isn’t just a nice idea.

The checklist won’t migrate your apps to Windows 7 for you, but it will definitely save you some time and effort.

Download the App-DNA Windows 7 Migration Checklist here (pdf document)

Courtesy – App-DNA

Microsoft Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Localized Documentation for the Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.5 (ACT 5.5) is now available in 10 Languages

The Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) enables software developers, independent software vendors (ISVs), and IT professionals who work in a corporate environment to determine, before rolling out within the organization, whether their applications are compatible with a new version of the Windows® operating system. ACT also enables such individuals to determine how an update to the new version will impact their applications.

You can use the ACT features to:

  • Verify your application’s, device’s, and computer’s compatibility with a new version of the Windows operating system, including determining your risk assessment.
  • Verify a Windows update’s compatibility, including determining your risk assessment.
  • Become involved in the ACT Community, including sharing your risk assessment with other ACT users.
  • Use the provided developer and test tools to test your Web applications and Web sites for compatibility with new releases and security updates to Internet Explorer®, to determine potential compatibility issues due to the User Account Control (UAC) feature, to create compatibility fixes for your application compatibility issues, and to determine any potential application installation and setup issues.

Localized Documentation for the Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.5 (ACT 5.5) is now available in 10 Languages for your reference!!

Events Microsoft

Webinar: Best Practices for Windows 7 Application Compatibility

Are your business-critical applications compatible with Windows® 7?

Join Microsoft’s “App Compat Guy” Chris Jackson for expert tips on how IT can avoid costly Windows 7 migration delays.

Webinar: Best Practices for Windows 7 Application Compatibility
Date: Thursday, December 17
Time: 12pm EST (9am PST, 5pm GMT)

For many IT teams, migrating to Windows 7 is the most important project of 2010. But to minimize risk and ensure a smoother move to Windows 7, you need strategies for resolving application compatibility issues, especially with your business-critical apps.

This webinar will provide IT with best practices for resolving Windows 7 application compatibility issues. Join AdminStudio® application packaging experts and Microsoft’s “App Compat Guy” Chris Jackson to learn about their experiences with early Windows 7 adopters.

Find out about:

  1. The most common application compatibility issues and their causes
  2. Best practices for avoiding Windows 7 application compatibility issues
  3. Essential elements to a successful Windows 7 migration plan

You can register for this Webinar here!!!

Also learn how AdminStudio enables users to accelerate Windows 7 and application virtualization migrations with a single application readiness toolset, minimizing risk, time, and cost of migrations.

Plus get answers to your Windows 7 application compatibility questions during the live QA!!

Microsoft Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

My Slidedeck – Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.5 Overview

This slidedeck was used at the BITPro november monthly UG meet yesterday.

This session gave a detailed explanation of how the ACT 5.5 tool can be used to mitigate the AppCompat issues. Further, an overview of Windows 7 Core OS changes were also discussed to set the context right.

View more presentations from Vijay Raj.